Low-income levels for seniors in Wyoming can vary depending upon the program qualifying that income. The federal poverty level is used as a general standard across the board, but some programs in this state utilize a different set of qualifiers and limits to determine the low-income classification. Typically, this applies to the federal and state programs of Medicaid, Medicare and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). If seniors struggle to make ends meet with the bare necessities, they would likely fall into the low-income category.

Why Do Seniors Struggle with Low Income?

Seniors might struggle with low income for several different reasons:

  1. Minimal income — Many seniors rely on retirement savings, social security benefits and pensions as their primary source of income. Unfortunately, many seniors couldn’t save enough during their working years, or market fluctuations and economic downturns negatively impacted what they managed to save. Others face age discrimination or physical limitations that make finding a job much harder.
  2. Health costs — As people age, health issues increase, and care and medical procedures are often more expensive. This quickly depletes any savings and potentially adds to ongoing expenses, which is difficult on a fixed income.
  3. Housing — If seniors still have a mortgage on their home, they’re paying for that along with the property taxes and any home maintenance. Ideally, a mortgage should be fully paid by the time individuals become seniors, but that’s not always the case.
  4. Dependents — Many seniors are taking in their grandchildren to raise or continue supporting their children financially, which adds to their monthly expenses.

Limited income is a stark reality for more seniors than most realize, and it can cause lower quality of life plus greater dependence on assistance programs.

What Help is Available in Wyoming for Seniors with Low Income?

There are multiple agencies and assistance available in Wyoming for low-income seniors. You can start with the Department of Health for Medicaid/Medicare counseling and the Senior Companion Program. The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) connects seniors and people with disabilities to local resources and programs, including housing assistance, transportation services and caregiver support. For programs like SNAP and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), you can look to the Department of Family Services. If affordable housing is an issue, contact the Wyoming Housing Network for rental assistance and subsidized housing options.

In many instances, assistance is available without seniors needing to leave their homes. Home health agencies can help with nearly all issues low-income seniors face, and their key aim is support. Since most seniors prefer to remain at home as long as possible, looking to these agencies will ensure that basic needs are met and go a long way toward improving or maintaining a high quality of life.